This morning, Jaguar announced its intentions to return to global motorsport by joining the Formula E grid for the 2016-17 season, replacing Jarno Trulli’s team. And this has prompted fans to wonder what lies ahead for the TATA owned company.
The return will come after a twelve year slumber, which started after the break down of the popular Jaguar Racing team, at the end of the 2004 Formula 1 season.
But aside from Formula 1, Jaguar found a multitude of success in sports cars and touring cars, all helping to boost their overall car sales and reputation within the global car market. And with Jaguar’s ongoing construction of a £100 million research and development centre, you might feel that a return to either of those disciplines could be on the cards. There are certainly unturned stones left from their unmemorable Formula 1 days, where they failed to win a race.
With an official technical partnership with Williams Advanced Racing on the cards, there may be a return to F1 as an engine partner, although Jaguar Land Rover’s Nick Rogers was adamant that Formula E was the only subject on their minds for the time being.
The Engineering Director told ‘BBC Sport‘ that “Electric vehicles will absolutely play a role in Jaguar Land Rover’s future product portfolio and Formula E will give us a unique opportunity to further our development of electrification technologies” and with the way championships such as the growing World Endurance Championship and indeed Formula 1 are heading, the agenda could slowly increase.
In a more sales minded outlook, one could say that Jaguar have had their hand forced; although their market share may have steadied in the last two years (2013 and 2014) at 0.22% of the global market, it is far from the 0.36% they held in 2004, their last year in motorsport.
Upon Porsche’s successful return to sports car racing in 2014, Wolfgang Hatz explained that it was necessary for a sports car manufacturer to prove itself at the highest level. “It is not about trying to sell cars today, but about investing in your reputation and your heritage. To keep those things alive requires you to compete in motorsport with a clear strategic goal to do just that.”
Whatever the future holds for Jaguar, it should be an exciting time. The big cat may, just may roar again.
Follow me on Twitter @therealjeagles for updates on when I post.